alexa The phn genes of Burkholderia sp. strain RP007 constitute a divergent gene cluster for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon catabolism.
Environmental Sciences

Environmental Sciences

Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology

Author(s): Laurie AD, LloydJones G

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Abstract Cloning and molecular ecological studies have underestimated the diversity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) catabolic genes by emphasizing classical nah-like (nah, ndo, pah, and dox) sequences. Here we report the description of a divergent set of PAH catabolic genes, the phn genes, which although isofunctional to the classical nah-like genes, show very low homology. This phn locus, which contains nine open reading frames (ORFs), was isolated on an 11.5-kb HindIII fragment from phenanthrene-degrading Burkholderia sp. strain RP007. The phn genes are significantly different in sequence and gene order from previously characterized genes for PAH degradation. They are transcribed by RP007 when grown at the expense of either naphthalene or phenanthrene, while in Escherichia coli the recombinant phn enzymes have been shown to be capable of oxidizing both naphthalene and phenanthrene to predicted metabolites. The locus encodes iron sulfur protein alpha and beta subunits of a PAH initial dioxygenase but lacks the ferredoxin and reductase components. The dihydrodiol dehydrogenase of the RP007 pathway, PhnB, shows greater similarity to analogous dehydrogenases from described biphenyl pathways than to those characterized from naphthalene/phenanthrene pathways. An unusual extradiol dioxygenase, PhnC, shows no similarity to other extradiol dioxygenases for naphthalene or biphenyl oxidation but is the first member of the recently proposed class III extradiol dioxygenases that is specific for polycyclic arene diols. Upstream of the phn catabolic genes are two putative regulatory genes, phnR and phnS. Sequence homology suggests that phnS is a LysR-type transcriptional activator and that phnR, which is divergently transcribed with respect to phnSFECDAcAdB, is a member of the sigma54-dependent family of positive transcriptional regulators. Reverse transcriptase PCR experiments suggest that this gene cluster is coordinately expressed and is under regulatory control which may involve PhnR and PhnS.
This article was published in J Bacteriol and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology

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